Your business is in need of marketing help, both online and offline. Your messaging and branding seems stale and it needs an injection of creativity. Without a modern approach to marketing and promotion, you know you will lose sales opportunities.
When you are researching marketing companies and consultants, it is reasonable to be attracted to those whom brand themselves as an industry-specific consultant. Examples that I have seen through the years are marketing firms solely servicing the legal, engineering, retail lighting, accounting, financial planning, real estate, medical cannabis and other industries.
So what’s wrong with that? Doesn’t it make sense to work with a company that knows your industry and what works and doesn’t work for businesses like yours?
I say no- it does not make good business sense. Why you ask? Here are 5 reasons:
- Their Creativity is Low:
I am called in to companies to help to make their digital marketing efforts more fruitful. In many cases, these businesses are working with an industry-specific marketing company already. What I have personally observed is that when a marketing company ONLY knows that industry, they become stale. They become “lazy” with their ideas because they just re-purpose what they use for their other clients, whom by the way are YOUR COMPETITION.
The result is that the websites and messaging within that industry are all alike- they don’t stand apart and look and sound fresh. Creativity is not being inspired since the consultant says and sees the same thing over and over with each client, and it’s easier to just do what your competitor is doing instead of taking time to re-invent your messaging and marketing ideas for you. They don’t have the time to be creative.
- You are a Number:
Industry-specific marketing companies have grown into very large companies in many cases. This is great for the company and its owners and stockholders, however this isn’t great for you. The representative whom is assigned to you has little time for your real marketing needs. You are one of many calling them and emailing them for advice, needing their attention. They do want to help, don’t get me wrong. However, they have others waiting for answers too. The others, again, are YOUR COMPETITION! The representative will give you the fastest and easiest answer, which may not necessarily be the best.
- You Don’t Get Their Best Marketing Minds:
As stated previously, industry-specific marketing firms do well. They grow in size, and many become very large. As a results, the marketing minds whom founded the company become untouchable to you.
When you call into their office for the first time to inquire about their services, you are quickly sent straight to the “representative best for that question”, in other words, the sales team. Their job is to inspire you to sign up for their services. Once you commit, then they move on to the next inquiry, and you are now sent to your “assigned marketing representative”. This person will be the person creating your new website or new messaging or advertising. Once again, they re-purpose what all of their other clients are doing. I have even seen online advertising that used the same exact graphics for different companies selling the same thing!
The person to whom you REALLY need to get to for advice is unreachable to you. They used to give marketing direction and were probably very good at it, and then decided to open their own firm. However, they have now hired people to give you advice and ideas- even though these ideas may be stale and being used by your competitors as well. As a results, you will never get the top marketing minds at that marketing company, the Founders.
- They Cannot be Innovative Quickly:
As digital marketing evolves and changes, which seems to be an hourly occurrence, the industry-specific marketing firms have a very hard time changing strategies to take advantage of the new tools or platforms available. Their size slows down their ability to be innovative and to try something new before your competitors try it. Your assigned representative needs approval and worse, the firm does have the capabilities to even offer the new marketing tools yet. Many industry-specific marketing companies have a wait-and-see attitude in terms of new marketing tools and strategies. The problem is, your competitors are not waiting, and they are launching new marketing initiatives, leaving you behind.
- What if the Industry is Doing it Wrong?
As a teenager, I always questioned someone who said “X, Y and Z are true because that is what “They” said”. I would ask, “But how do you know “THEY” are right?” The same question can be asked about industry-specific marketing companies. How do you really know that they know the best strategies for YOU and your target demographic and market area? What works in New York City may not be effective in a smaller area in the mid-west. What if the other businesses and marketing companies are missing a great idea because nobody has ever tried it before?
How do you think Southwest Airlines catapulted themselves in that good-ol’-boy airline industry? They decided to “buck the system” and to marketing to people whom the other airlines were ignoring- those who were choosing to drive instead of taking a plane.
If they had used a marketing company specializing in the airline industry, they would have never succeeded as they have since their marketing plan wasn’t what the other airlines are doing. The Southwest lesson is don’t be a follower when it comes to your marketing. Stand out and try something your competitors are not thinking about.
Your marketing message and how you share this message is the lifeline of your business. If you are looking for something “new” or “modern”, do not use an industry-specific marketing company. That is not what their business model offers. Look for a smaller firm which allows you access to their best marketing minds.